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Showing posts from March, 2012

When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.

This proverb originates from the story of Qin Hui, who was regarded till today as the most treacherous court minister of the Song dynasty.

Qin Hui was born with a peculiarity: his feet measured one foot four inches from heel to toe. he was therefore nicknamed the Long-Foot Scholar when he was a student in the Royal Academy.

Qin Hui had been teacher in a private school, he was very unsatisfied by his humble and mean position, and wrote a poem, one couplet of it was: If I had three hundred Acres of irrigated lands, I wouldn't have to be the Monkey king. Here the monkeys were referred to mischievous boys in the private school, he himself was the king of those monkeys.

Later he passed the imperial examinations and rose quickly to the post of Prime Minister. By the time, the Song dynasty was under continuous attack by the northern tribe Jurchen [Jin]. Qin Hui initiated Peace negotiation with Jurchens, and made the Southern Song dynasty cede territory and subjugate itself to them.

In t…

Buddhist Monk of Chao Zhou

Once upon a time, within a league of Chao zhou (潮州), there lived a Buddhist monk in extreme austerity. He wore an iron chain always round him, which corrupted his Flesh, and bred worms; he was so set upon mortifying himself, that he picked up the worms as they fell off, and replaced them, saying, that there was still something to prey on.

(General History of China, by J. B. Du Halde)

A Chicken made friend with a Fish

Once upon a time in the Dirty-land, lived a hen. One day she wandered along a brook looking for worms, and she saw a fish swimming happily in the water. Soon afterwards they became friends. The hen told the fish everything in the land, especially the oddest things happened to the boy who had a plum tree growing out his head. The fish told the hen all about everything under the water, but really he didn't have much to tell, because the brook was so small, and water was shallow. After a long chat, the hen went back to her home, and the fish under the pond.

The next day, the hen came to visit the fish again, their friendship grew, and invited each other to visit their home. But there was a problem, because the hen couldn't swim, and the fish couldn't walk on the land.

After a short silence, the hen had an idea, she said, “I can wee on the way, so you can move along.” The fish thought that was not a very good idea, but he would like to give it a try. The fish jumped out of th…

Mushrooms Grow Behind His Ears

Once upon a time, a little boy lived with his Grandmother in Dirty-land.

Grandmother never made the boy to wash his face in the morning like other people do. When the little boy washes his face, his grandmother always reminds him, “Don't wash behind your ear, or mushrooms won't grow out.”

The little boy never believes her, although he never washes his face properly, and even more reluctant to touch that behind his ears.

One day, when he was in school, his felt a little itchy on his neck. He did his home work after school as usual, and got into bed. The next day, he felt very itchy, and he looked in the mirror, and saw behind his ears were tiny mushrooms. He went down the stairs, and shouted to his grandmother, “Mushrooms behind my ear!”

His grandmother smiled, and said, “Good boy, now we have our own mushrooms. We will have Chicken and mushrooms soup for dinner today.”

A Lazy farmer

Once upon there lived a lazy farmer, he never washed himself.

His neighbour said, “You worked in the field on barefoot, at least you should wash your feet before go to bed.”

He said, “I would rather wash my quilt than wash my feet!” But he never washed his bed sheet or quilt.

When his neighbour noticed that his bed was so dirty, they said, “Your bed are so muddy, why don't you wash it?”

He said, “I would rather let the mud drop on the floor than wash my quilt. I will sweep the floor and carry the mud away. ” When his bed became so muddy that the mud started to drop down on the floor, and accumulated inches thick. But he never swept his floor under his bed.

His neighbour saw it, shook their head, saying, “You said that you would clean the mud and carry it away.”

He said, “I would rather sow seeds than sweep the mud.”

Of course he never sown seeds in his bed or on the floor, or he would have nowhere to sleep.

Dirty Boy Carries A Plum Tree On His Head

When the little woman and the tiny old man finished their tea, a little boy came running inside, he was the little woman's grandson. He said, “I am hungry, can I eat a plum?”

The little woman gave the boy a plum, and warned him again, “Don't spit out the stone, we want a plum tree to grow out of your head.”

Though the little boy never believed her, he ate it all, and swallowed the stone as his grandmother told him.

The next morning, when he woke up from a nightmare, his head felt very heavy and strange. The boy asked his grandma, “What's happened with my head, something seems growing and it feels heavy.”

His grandma carefully spread his messy hair, and saw a plant. “A Plum tree is growing out of your head!”She said, “Good boy, well done! Now you have plum tree on your own head, we don't need to buy plums from the shop any more.”

So the little boy carried the plum tree on his head, when he had a shower, he watered the plum tree; when he went to school, he carried it to …

The castle of Zeland

Though the beautiful Island Formosa (or Tai wan) lies at no great Distance either from Japan or China, it was a long time unknown to these two neighbours.

At the End of the Year of 1620, Japanese squadron ships came upon the coast of Formosa, and they settled a colony there.

About the same time a Dutch vessel, in her voyage from Japan, or in her return thither, was forced by a storm into Formosa, where they found the Japanese in no condition of opposing them. The country appearing beautiful to the Hollanders; and advantageous for their commerce, they pretended want of refreshment, and things necessary for refitting their vessel, which was damaged by the storm. Some of them made an excursion into the country, and having examined it, returned on board.

The Hollanders beseeched the Japanese to permit them to build an habitation upon the brink of the Island, at one of the entrances into the harbour, which might be serviceable to them with respect to their commerce to Japan; the Japanese …

Two Children arguing about the sun

One day, Xiang Tuo was arguing with another child. Confucius asked them what’s about. One child thought that the sun is nearer to us at daybreak and far away from us at noon, because in the morning it is as big as the canopy of a carriage, but at noon only the size of a plate or a bowl. The other contended that the sun was far away at dawn and nearby at midday, because when the sun comes out, it is very cool, but at midday it is as hot as putting your hand in boiling water. Confucius was unable to settle the matter for them.